New research from across the country is suggesting that our diet and exercise patterns can significantly delay or prevent the onset of the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease.
Even if you are in your 50’s, it’s not too late to act on these surprising findings. In fact, it might be the perfect time.
Your belly and brain are connected
A team of researchers at Rush University Medical Center discovered that the protein responsible for breaking down fats in the liver is also found in the memory and learning center of the brain. Those who have higher abdominal fat have a lower count of these proteins, which suggests that jelly bellies can distract these important proteins from their most vital mental functions.
One way to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s is to forgo imported veggies and to instead buy organic. The foreign pesticide DDT has been banned in the U.S., but is present in many vegetables sourced from outside countries. The chemical has been linked to a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s for those over the age of 60.
Cut the fat in your middle years
If you’re in your 50’s, it’s not too late to make a positive change. In fact, your midlife years are the most important, according to research. Improving dietary choices, particularly avoiding foods high in saturated fat like meats and dairy, can reduce your Alzheimer’s risk up to 90 percent, according to a doctoral thesis. Researchers pointed to the Mediterranean diet as a model diet framework.
Healthy body, healthy mind
The hippocampus, which is part of the brain responsible for memory and spatial reasoning, is the first target of Alzheimer’s. As you age, the size of the hippocampus decreases, but researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health found that exercise prevents the hippocampus from shrinking.
However, slimming down where it counts isn’t the only part that matters; beefing up with brain training has also shown to improve brain function and further delay the onset of dementia.
Learning another language can improve cognitive resilience in those susceptible to dementia. Bilingualism, according to a study published in the journal Neurology, had a hand in delaying the condition in those who spoke a second language by an average of four and a half years.
And finally, the right amount of bedtime reading and z’s before the next day’s coffee can also improve healthy living, but sleep can have an adverse effect if overdone. Those who had an irregular sleep pattern–either sleeping more than eight hours or less than six–actually reduced cognitive levels, according to one study.
Make the changes, day by day
Making healthy choices in your daily diet and activities can not only bolster your brain against dementia later in life–it can improve the quality of your life too. So do what you have to do today–there’s no better time than now!